When I was a little girl I could spend hours looking through the Sears and JCPenney Christmas catalogs.
My brother, sister and I would circle everything we wanted.
It didn't matter that we wouldn't get all the things we had circled…the fun was talking about everything and putting our mark on it.
Those catalogs were dogeared and worn by the time Christmas came around.
With all the wishing and wanting we had done before Christmas I don't remember many of the gifts I received over my childhood.
Of course there are a few that stand out but for the most part I remember very little.
I do remember running up into the attic as soon as the Thanksgiving meal was over and dragging down all the decorations and very specifically telling everyone how I thought the tree should be decorated.
I remember my mom always hanging a felt nativity scene from the dinning room chandelier.
I remember decorating cookies and making gifts for friends.
I remember how much I loved how the tree made the whole living room look so warm and cozy.
I remember how much I loved Christmas Eve service. I still do. I think it is the highlight of the whole season! I loved how the church would look after the lights were turned off and the candles were lit from one person to the next. Silent Night has never sounded so beautiful and magical.
I remember coming home from Christmas Eve service and my family coming together to read the story of the birth of Christ.
So, it wasn't about the gifts after all.
I now have my own little family and I wonder what they will remember some day.
As we have started to celebrate these days leading up to Christmas Kelly and I have decided to do something a little different than previous years.
As these days leading up to Christmas are full of excitement…as they should be….we really wanted our children to not just spend the next 22 days thinking about themselves and what is in store for them.
Over the next 22 days we want our days to be full of thinking of others. Acts of service, words of kindness, encouragement and thoughtfulness.
We are not on this earth for ourselves. I don't want to teach my children that either.
I want to raise children that become adults that strive to serve throughout their whole life.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
These verses change my perspective on everything.
So, over these next weeks (and throughout the year) I want to be open to the ways that I can serve, bless, support, encourage….because no matter who I am serving I am truly serving the Lord.
I want to teach my children through my own actions to be the hands and feet of God on this earth.
This month can get crazy but it doesn't have to.
You have a choice…you always do.
You can say NO to all the things you don't really want to do and say YES to all the things that really matter.
I need this month to remember what matters.
To be intentional and present….and to remember that it has never really been about the gifts!
I would like to thank all the Pay It Forward Winners for your amazing interviews this week and sharing your creativity with us!
The winner of the Kelly Rae E-book, art, iphone cover and autographed datebook is….
Jacqueline from So Cute It Hurts.
Thank you to everyone that entered!!